Monday, September 28, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 131 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Sept 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 131 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Sept 2009.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from page 577 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

53. Though in general, what is called 'pazhaiyadu' in Tamil, meaning, old or previously cooked, is 'yaata yaamam' (mentioned in the previous paragraphs quoting B.G. Chapter 17 Sloka 10), it is not forbidden for the hard working farmer and labour class of people. It is also not taboo for the poor, who cannot afford to waste rice already cooked. He has no access to the modern amenities such as fridge. When you have such amenities, we should still cook only enough to last that particular meal and not dump the fridge with left over's of every meal!

54. But this 'pazhaiyadu' has a special attraction of its own. After the days meals are over, they used to soak the balance cooked rice in water, to temporarily stop the process of its bio-degradation. In the morning some salt, butter- milk, coriander leaves and green chillies and gingelly oil used to be added. Now this mix, with avakkai oorugai used to make a delightful combination! Sick people are also permitted some of these forbidden items. After they are cured of whatever the illness, they are to expiate by some 'praayas chittam' by partaking 'pancha kavyam'! Children below eight years and old people above 80 are not forbidden anything! Mostly by that age one would have overcome most of the vicarious desires anyhow! As it is, they would have learnt also, how to avoid the temptations, with the failing health and poor digestion! So, as a matter of grace as though, Saastraa-s give them full freedom of their choice.

55. Instead of having all rules, restrictions and regulations uniformly applicable to all people of all ages and ashrama-s and varna-s; the Saastraa-s have variations in it's applicability. This is a peculiarity of this Sanatana Dharma, which is also the reason for its longevity. In the matters of food, the restrictions applicable to others are not as stringent as applied to the Brahmins. The avoidance of extremes and over indulgence, is applicable to all.

56. For the person who has to work hard, putting in physical labour, the restrictions as per Saastraa-s are not very harsh. For the Brahmin the rules are rather stringent so as to keep his desires reigned in, that he has to sacrifice most of the luxuries and live an ideal life, for emulation by others. Since only some are required to be strict vegetarians, looking at them, others are also motivated to at least avoid animal meat and hard liquor on some special days. Later this vegetarianism and avoidance of hard liquor becomes preferable. In many castes above the age of 60 and 70 people are becoming non drinkers and vegetarians by preference thus.

57. When you keep the ideal as exemplary and be more practical, then the ideal becomes more preferable, with maturity. If you make the ideal universally applicable, then the observance is more in breaking of the rules. "Saattvic aahaaram is ideal. Liquor and animal meat is to be avoided and abhorred eventually, if not immediately now." That is the message to all castes, in our system of graded applicability.

58. Vegetarianism as an ideal, being a must only for one set of people in our country, others are motivated to follow the example on their own volition, without compulsions by Saastraa-s. This is clearly borne out by the fact that amongst us are more vegetarians then anywhere else, under any other system in the whole world! When other caste people are able to say with pride in our society that they are vegetarians for more than two or three generations, it is proof enough that there is respect for self-control! Another variation is when some say, "In our house they do take non-vegetarian food. But they would rather not make a show of it in my presence"! This shows that when the ideal is the compulsion for some and option for others, there is encouragement for people to follow the ideal voluntarily!

59. Any subject when spoken about a lot, becomes less so in action. It is a vicious cycle that you talk more about it as though to cover up the fact that you are not doing enough. From the time of Gandhi, there is more talk about 'Ahimsa' that is, non-violence, while at the same time there is every variety of violence, in all walks of life! For generations when the brahmins have been vegetarians, the brahmin boys are erring in this respect too!

60. In the Buddhist Religion there was wide spread talk about not causing any harm to any life form by mind or word or body by anyone! Doctrine of non-violence is very pleasing to hear. But the question as to whether it is practicable remains a question only. Then it is seen that in countries where Buddhism is wide spread, like Japan, China, Tibet, Bhutan and so on, what is anathema for other non-vegetarians, such as, snake, frog, dog and such are also eaten away. A small fraction of animals that are sent to the abattoir, when sacrificed in a Yagna, Buddha felt very bad and moved to tears! But it is a fact of life that Brahmins are strict vegetarians for generations and Buddhist Bikkus can eat anything moving!

61. Not only now when Buddhism has spread all over the world, in our own country too this has been so for many hundreds of years. In Sanatana Dharma, other than Brahmins, anyone who takes up a life of renunciation as a Sannyasi is required to be a strict vegetarian. That happens so in practice too. But in the Religion where 'Ahimsa' is the main thrust, the Bikkus who are of the same status as a Sannyasi, are all non-vegetarians! This is so mentioned very clearly in a drama written by Mahendra Pallava, some 1,300 years back.

62. In that drama, a Kapalika is searching for his begging bowl, which has gone missing. The begging bowl happens to be a skull. Some one says, "That begging bowl had some piece of meat sticking to it. It may have been taken away by a dog or a Buddha Bikkus!" Then there is a Buddha Bikku depicted in the drama. He is happily mentioning, "Dhana Dasan the merchant, gave me a good feed. It was all very tasty and filling. How many fragrant and colourful fishes were in that dinner!" This drama is of a period of time when there were many Buddhists in Kanchipuram and the author is the King of renown of that period. So the scene is a clear picturization of that period in history.

(Please note that Periyaval is not drawing any aspersions on the behaviour of the Bikku. He is making a point as to how, in any religious system where the Ideal is made applicable to all, then it is followed by none!)

(To be continued.)




Post a Comment

<< Home